Drinkers demand clarity over craft beer producers

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Careful consideration: more than half of consumers care about who brews their beer
Careful consideration: more than half of consumers care about who brews their beer

Related tags Great british beer British beer festival Beer Cask ale Brewery Society of independent brewers

Consumers want greater clarity over who is brewing the beer they drink, according to new research commissioned by the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA).

The YouGov survey of more than 1,000 beer drinkers showed more than half (60%) of them cared who brewed their beer.

SIBA’s Assured Independent British Craft Brewer initiative allows its member brewers, who are relatively small, fully independent and brewing quality beer, to use an ‘Assured’ seal on their beer products and PoS marketing material to help them stand out from other brewers.

Some 69% thought it would be useful to see the logo on beer pump clips, bottles and cans, in order to identify the beer as being brewed by a truly independent craft brewer, rather than a global beer company.

Also, more than half (54%) also said they would be more likely to drink a beer that carried the logo.

This research backs SIBA’s calls for further clarity on who is behind craft beer​ last month (July) following a number of buyouts of previously independent craft breweries.

SIBA chief executive Mike Benner highlighted the importance of heritage to consumers when it comes to beer.

In great demand

Benner said: “Quality, flavoursome beer from independent British craft breweries has never been in greater demand, with more people than ever drinking more discerningly and choosing full-flavoured beer.

“This has, of course, attracted the attention of the global brewers, who have been buying out previously independent breweries and trying to get their own slice of this growing sector.

“But what this survey clearly shows is consumers care whether the beer they are drinking was brewed by a truly independent British craft brewer or not – it’s all about provenance, transparency and not misleading consumers.”

The research also showed that 50% of beer drinkers were now drinking ‘local craft beer’ with this rising to 61% for 25 to 34-year-olds.

SIBA’s ‘Assured’ seal was introduced to help truly independent craft breweries to differentiate the beers they brew from mass-produced products, some of which will be available at this year’s Great British Beer Festival (from 8 to 12 August at London’s Olympia).

Benner added: “Hundreds of beers at this year’s Great British Beer Festival have been brewed by independent breweries and we have worked with the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) to highlight them on the festival bars and in the programme.

“Independent craft beer is brewed by genuine, passionate brewing artisans and that is something beer drinkers really care about, because it’s the only way to get the absolute best tasting, most interesting beers.”

Provenance is important

SIBA’s membership has grown 6% over the past eight months, with 50 new breweries signed up to the trade association.

Five Points Brewery owner Ed Mason is running the London Brewers Alliance bar at this year’s Great British Beer Festival, alongside Redemption and Windsor & Eton breweries.

He said: “Consumers value provenance and want to support local and independent breweries. Many consumers don’t realise that what looks like an independent local craft beer on the bar can often be owned by one of the global lager brands.

“As an industry, we truly need independent craft brewers to be vocal in championing provenance, which is one of the positives of the ‘Assured’ seal that SIBA has recently introduced as it is a brilliant way of being open and transparent about our ownership and provenance.”

The scheme has also been welcomed by CAMRA and it has highlighted the need for consumers to be able to differentiate between beers brewed by local artisan brewers and large global brewers.

CAMRA chief executive Tim Page said: “Consumers should be given access to information to enable them to make informed choices about which beers to drink.

“There is currently no agreed definition of ‘craft’ beer either in the UK or abroad. That allows large global brewers, which produce beer in huge quantities, to market their products as ‘crafted’ to boost sales – riding the wave of the popularity of ‘craft beer’ for many drinkers.

“The discerning customer should have confidence that the beer they have chosen is indeed local and artisan, rather than just the product of clever but deceptive marketing.”

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